Imágenes de páginas

Of the serpent.


The woman tempted

was perfectly temperate, and therefore they had no the Centre and Source of all perfection and excellence, need of clothing, the circumambient air being of the shall rest in God, unutterably happy through the imsame temperature with their bodies. And as sin had measurable progress of duration! Of this consumnot yet entered into the world, and no part of the mation every returning Sabbath should at once be a human body had been put to any improper use, there- type, a remembrancer, and a foretaste, to every pious fore there was no shame, for shame can only arise from mind; and these it must be to all who are taught of a consciousness of sinful or irregular conduct. God.

Of this rest, the garden of Eden, that paradise of Even in a state of innocence, when all was perfec- God formed for man, appears also to have been a type tion and excellence, when God was clearly discovered and pledge; and the institution of marriage, the cause, in all his works, every place being his temple, every bond, and cement of the social state, was probably moment a time of worship, and every object an incite- designed to prefigure that harmony, order, and blessedment to religious reverence and adoration—even then, ness which must reign in the kingdom of God, on God chose to consecrate a seventh part of time to his which the condition of our first parents in the garden more especial worship, and to hallow it unto his own of paradise is justly supposed to have been-an expres. service by a perpetual decree. Who then shall dare sive emblem. What a pity that this heavenly instito reverse this order of God ? Had the religious ob- tution should have ever been perverted ! that, instead servance of the Sabbath been never proclaimed till the of becoming a sovereign help to all, it is now, through proclamation of the law on Mount Sinai, then it might its prostitution to animal and secular purposes, become have been conjectured that this, like several other the destroyer of millions ! Reader, every connection ordinances, was a shadow which must pass away with thou formest in life will have a strong and sovereign that dispensation ; neither extending to future ages, influence on thy future destiny. Beware! an unholy nor binding on any other people. But this was not cause, which from its peculiar nature must be cease

God gave the Sabbath, his first ordinance, to lessly active in every muscle, nerve, and passion. man, (see the first precept, ver. 17,) while all the cannot fail to produce incessant effects of sin, misery, nations of the world were seminally included in him, death, and perdition. Remember that thy earthly and while he stood the father and representative of the connections, no matter of what kind, are not formed whole human race; therefore the Sabbath is not for merely for time, whatsoever thou mayest intend, but one nation, for one time, or for one place. It is the also for eternity. With what caution therefore shouldst fair type of heaven's eternal day—of the state of end- thou take every step in the path of life! On this less blessedness and glory, where human souls, having ground, the observations made in the preceding notes fully regained the Divine image, and become united to are seriously recommended to thy consideration.

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Satan, by means of a creature here called the serpent, deceives Eve, 1-5. Both she and Adam transgress

the Divine command, and fall into sin and misery, 6, 7. They are summoned before God, and judged, 8–13. The creature called the serpent is degraded and punished, 14. The promise of redemption by the incarnation of Christ, 15. Eve sentenced, 16. Adam sentenced, 17. The ground cursed, and death threatened, 18, 19. Why the woman was called Eve, 20. Adam and Eve clothed with skins, 21. The wretched state of our first parents after their fall, and their expulsion from the garden of Paradise, 22–24. A. M. 1.

A. M. I. a the serpent was

more field which the Lord God had made. NOW B. C. 4004.

B. C. 400 1. subtle than any beast of the And he said unto the woman, . Yea, a Rev. xii. 9 ; xx. 2.- - Matt. x. 16; 2 Cor. xi. 3.

€ Heb. Yea, because, &c.



satisfied on this part of the subject, though convinced Verse 1. Now the serpent was more sublle) We of the fact itself. Who was the serpent ? of what have here one of the most difficult as well as the most kind ? In what way did he seduce the first happy important narratives in the whole book of God. The pair? These are questions which remain yet to be last chapter ended with a short but striking account answered. The whole account is either a simple narof the perfection and felicity of the first human beings, rative of facts, or it is an allegory. If it be a hisand this opens with an account of their transgression, torical relation, its literal meaning should be sought degradation, and ruin. That man is in a fallen state, out ; if it be an allegory, no attempt should be made the history of the world, with that of the life and to explain it, as it would require a direct revelation to miseries of every human being, establishes beyond ascertain the sense in which it should be understood, successful contradiction. But how, and by what for fanciful illustrations are endless. Believing it to agency, was this brought about ? Here is a great be a simple relation of facts capable of a satisfactory mystery ; and I may appeal to all persons who have explanation, I shall take it up on this ground; and, by read the various comments that have been written on a careful examination of the original text, endeavour the Mosaic account, whether they have ever yet been to fix the meaning, and show the propriety and conThe woman discourses


with the serpent.

A. M.1. B. C. 4004.

B. C. 4004.

hath God said, Ye shall not eat of | We may eat of the fruit of the

A. M. I. every tree of the garden?

trees of the garden : 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, 3 & But of the fruit of the tree which is in

& Genesis, chap. ii. 17.

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sistency of the Mosaic account of the fall of man. they do not seem to have given themselves much The chief difficulty in the account is found in the trouble to understand the meaning of the original, for question, Who was the agent employed in the seduc- they have rendered the word as variously as our transtion of our first parents ?

lators have done, or rather our translators have followed The word in the text which we, following the Sep. thein, as they give nearly the same significations found tuagint, translate serpent, is una nachash; and, ac- in the Septuagint : hence we find that ooiç is as frecording to Buxtorf and others, has three meanings in quently used by them as serpent, its supposed literal

And the New TesScripture. 1. It signifies to view or observe attentively, meaning, is used in our version. to divine or use enchantments, because in them the au- tament writers, who seldom quote the Old Testament gurs viewed attentively the flight of birds, the entrails but from the Septuagint transiation, and often do not of beasts, the course of the clouds, &c.; and under this change even a word in their quotations, copy this verhead it signifies to acquire knowledge by experience. sion in the use of this word. From the Septuagint 2. It signifies brass, brazen, and is translated in our therefore we can expect no light, nor indeed from any Bible, not only brass, but chains, fetters, fetters of other of the ancient versions, which are all subsequent brass, and in several places steel ; see 2 Sam. xxii. to the Septuagint, and some of them actually made 35; Job xx. 24 ; Psa. xviii. 34 ; and in one place, at from it. In all this uncertainty it is natural for a least, filthiness or fornication, Ezek. xvi. 36. 3. It serious inquirer after truth to look everywhere for signifies a serpent, but of what kind is not determined. information. And in such an inquiry the Arabic may In Job xxvi. 13, it seems to mean the whale or hippo- be expected to afford some help, from its great simi

potamus : By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens, larity to the Hebrew. A root in this language, very his hand halh formed the crooked serpent, 672 unij nearly similar to that in the text, seems to cast consinachash bariach : as nna barach signifies to pass on or derable light on the subject. Quis chanas or khanasa pass through, and nina beriach is used for a bar of a signifies he departed, drew off, lay hid, seduced, slunk gate or door that passed through rings, &c., the idea away; from this root come cmisil akhnas, kuris of straightness rather than crookedness should be khanasa, and wgis khanaos, which all signify an attached to it here ; and it is likely that the hippo-ape, or satyrus, or any creature of the simia or ape potamus or sea-horse is intended by it.

genus. It is


remarkable also that from the same In Eccles. x. 11, the creature called nachash, of root comes wulis khanas, the Devil, which appellawhatever sort, is compared to the babbler : Surely the tive he bears from that meaning of emisi khanasa, serpent (vn) nachash) will bite without enchantment; he drew off, seduced, fc., because he draws men off and a babbler is no heller.

from righteousness, seduces them from their obedience In Isa. xxvii. 1, the crocodile or alligator seems to God, &c., &c. See Golius, sub voce.

Is it not particularly. meant by the original :: In that day the strange that the devil and the ape should have the same Lordshall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, &c. name, derived from the same root, and that root so And in Isa. Ixv. 25, the same creature is meant as in very similar to the word in the text ? But let us reGen. iii. 1, for in the words, And dust shall be the turn and consider what is said of the creature in quesserpent's meat, there is an evident allusion to the text tion. Now the nachash was more subtle, din arum, of Moses. In Amos ix. 3, the crocodile is evidently more wise, cunning, or prudent, than any beast of the intended : Though they be hid in the bottom of the sea, field which the Lord God had made. In this account thence will I command the serpent, (unijn hannachash,) we find, 1. That whatever this nachash was, he stood and he shall bite them. No person can suppose that at the head of all inferior animals for wisdom and unany of the snake or serpent kind can be intended here; derstanding. 2. That he walked erect, for this is and we see from the various acceptations of the word, necessarily implied in his punishment on thy belly and the different senses which it bears in various places (i. e., on all fours) shalt thou go.

3. That he was in the sacred writings, that it appears to be a sort of endued with the gift of speech, for a conversation is general term confined to no one sense. Hence it will here related between him and the woman. 4. That be necessary to examine the root accurately, to see if he was also endued with the gift of reason, for we find its ideal meaning will enable us to ascertain the animal him reasoning and disputing with Eve. 5. That these intended in the text. We have already seen that one things were common to this creature, the woman no nachash signifies to view attentively, to acquire know- doubt having often seen him walk erect, talk, and ledge or experience by attentive observation ; so 'nun) reason, and therefore she testifies no kind of surprise nichashli, Gen. xxx. 27: I have learned by experience; when he accosts her in the language related in the and this seems to be its most general meaning in the text; and indeed from the manner in which this is Bible. The original word is by the Septuagint trans- introduced it appears to be only a part of a conversalated opis, a serpent, not because this was its fixed tion that had passed between them on the occasion : determinate meaning in the sacred writings, but because Yea, hath God said, gc. it was the best that occurred to the translators : and Had this creature never been known to speak before

A. M. 1. B. C. 4004.

B. C. 4004.

The serpent promises


exemption from death. A. M. 1.

the midst of the garden, God hath | 4 . And the serpent said unto

said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither the woman, Ye shall not surely shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

• Ver. 13; 2 Cor. xi. 3; 1 Tim. ii. 14.

die :

his addressing the woman at this time and on this sub- might have been originally designed to walk erect, and ject, it could not have failed to excite her surprise, and that nothing less than a sovereign controlling power

have filled her with caution, though from the purity could induce them to put down hands in every respect and innocence of her nature she might have been in- formed like those of man, and walk like those creatures capable of being affected with fear. Now I apprehend whose claw-armed paws prove them to have been dethat none of these things can be spoken of a serpent of signed to walk on all fours. Dr. Tyson has observed, any species. 1. None of them ever did or ever can walk in his anatomy of an ouran outang, that the seminal erect. The tales we have had of two-footed and four- vessels passed between the two coats of the peritoneum footed serpents are justly exploded by every judicious to the scrotum, as in man; hence he argues that this naturalist, and are utterly unworthy of credit. The very creature was designed to walk erect, as it is otherwise name serpent comes from serpo, to creep, and therefore in all quadrupeds, Philos. Trans., vol. xxi., p. 340 to such it could be neither curse nor punishment to go The subtlety, cunning, endlessly varied pranks and on their bellies, i. e., to creep.on, as they had done from tricks of these creatures, show them, even now, to be their creation, and must do while their race endures. more subtle and more intelligent than any other crea2. They have no organs for speech, or any kind of ture, man alone excepted. Being obliged now to walk articulate sound; they can only hiss. It is true that on all fours, and gather their food from the ground, an ass by miraculous influence may speak; but it is they are literally obliged to eat the dust ; and though not to be supposed that there was any miraculous in- exceedingly cunning, and careful in a variety of interference here. God did not qualify this creature stances to separate that part which is wholesome and with speech for the occasion, and it is not intimated proper for food from that which is not so, in the article that there was any other agent that did it; on the con- of cleanliness they are lost to all sense of propriety; trary, the text intimates that speech and reason were and though they have every means in their power of natural to the nachash: and is it not in reference to cleansing the aliments they gather off the ground, and this the inspired penman says, The nachash was more from among the dust, yet they never in their savage subtle or intelligent than all the-beasts of the field that state make use of any, except a slight rub against their the Lord God had made? Nor can I find that the side, or with one of their hands, more to see what the serpentine genus are remarkable for intelligence. It article is than to cleanse it. Add to this, their utter is true the wisdom of the serpent has passed into a pro- aversion to walk upright; it requires the utmost disciverb, but I cannot see on what it is founded, except in pline to bring them to it, and scarcely any thing irritates reference to the passage in question, where the nachash, them more than to be obliged to do it. Long obserwhich we translate serpent, following the Septuagint, vation on some of these animals enables me to state shows so much intelligence and cunning : and it is very these facts. probable that our Lord alludes to this very place when Should any person who may read this note object he exhorts his disciples to be wise-prudent or intel- against my conclusions, because apparently derived ligent, as serpents, opovipol ús oi opeis. and it is worthy from an Arabic word which is not exactly similar to of remark that he uses the same term employed by the Hebrew, though to those who understand both lanthe Septuagint in the text in question : Opus nu opovi-guages the similarity will be striking ; yet, as I do not uwratos, the serpent was more prudent or intelligent insist on the identity of the terms, though important than all the beasts, &c. All these things considered, consequences have been derived from less likely etywe are obliged to seek for some other word to designate mologies, he is welcome to throw the whole of this the nachásh in the text, than the word serpent, which out of the account. He

may then take up the Hebrew on every view of the subject appears to me inefficient root only, which signifies to gaze, to view attentively, and inapplicable. We have seen above that khanas, pry into, inquire narrowly, fc., and consider the pasakhnas, and khanoos, signify a creature of the ape or sage that appears to compare the nachash to the babsatyrus kind.

We have seen that the meaning of the bler, Eccles. x. 11, and he will soon find, if he have root is, he lay hid, seduced, slunk away, fc.; and that any acquaintance with creatures of this genus, that for khanas means the devil, as the inspirer of evil, and earnest, attentive watching, looking, fc., and for chatseducer from God and truth. See Golius and Wilmet. tering or babbling, they have no fellows in the animal It therefore appears to me that a creature of the ape world. Indeed, the ability and propensity to chatter or ouran outang kind is here intended ; and that Satan is all they have left, according to the above hypothesis, made use of this creature as the most proper instru- of their original gift of speech, of which I suppose ment for the accomplishment of his murderous purposes them to have been deprived at the fall as a part of against the life and soul of man. Under this creature their punishment. he lay hid, and by this creature he seduced our first I have spent the longer time on this subject, 1. Beparents, and drew off or slunk away from every eye cause it is exceedingly obscure ; 2. Because no interbut the eye of God. Such a creature answers to every pretation hitherto given of it has afforded me the part of the description in the text: it is evident from smallest satisfaction ; 3. Because I think the above the structure of its limbs and their muscles that it ! mode of accounting for every part of the whole trans The serpent prompts Eve



to disobedience A. M. I.

5 For God doth know that in the 6 And when the woman saw that A M.... B. C. 4004.

B. C. 4004. day ye eat thereof, then your the tree was good for food, and that eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as it was s pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be gods, knowing good and evil.

desired to make one wise, she took of the

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action is consistent and satisfactory, and in my opinion the world? The Syriac has the word in the singular
removes many embarrassments, and solves the chief number, and is the only one of all the versions which
difficulties. I think it can be no solid objection to the has hit on the true meaning. As the original word is
above mode of solution that Satan, in different parts the same which is used to point out the Supreme Be-
of the New Testament, is called the serpent, the ser- ing, chap. i. 1, so it has here the same signification;
pent that deceived Eve by his subtlety, the old serpent, and the object of the tempter appears to have been
fc., for we have already seen that the New Testament this : to persuade our first parents that they should, by
writers have borrowed the word from the Septuagint, eating of this fruit, become wise and powerful as God,
and the Septuagint themselves use it in a vast variety (for knowledge is power,) and be able to exist for ever,
and latilude of meaning ; and surely the ouran oulang independently of him.
is as likely to be the animal in question as vnnachash Verse 6. The tree was good for food ] 1. The fruit
and oois ophis are likely to mean at once a snake, a appeared to be wholesome and nutritive. And that it
crocodile, a hippopotamus, fornication, a chain, a pair was pleasant to the eyes. 2. The beauty of the fruit
of fetters, a piece of brass, a piece of steel, and a con- tended to whet and increase appetite. And a tree to
jurer; for we have seen above that all these are ac- be desired to make one wise, which was, An addi.
ceptations of the original word. Besides, the New tional motive to please the palate. From these three
Testament writers seem to lose sight of the animal or sources all natural and moral evil sprang : they are
instrument used on the occasion, and speak only of exactly what the apostle calls the desire of the flesh;
Satan himself as the cause of the transgression, and the tree was good for food : the desire of the eye ; it
the instrument of all evil. If, however, any person was pleasant to the sight: and the pride of life ; it
should choose to differ from the opinion stated above, was a tree to be desired to make one wise. God had
he is at perfect liberty so to do; I make it no article undoubtedly created our first parents not only very
of faith, nor of Christian communion ; I crave the wise and intelligent, but also with a great capacity and
same liberty to judge for myself that I give to others, suitable propensity to increase in knowledge. Those
to which every man has an indisputable right; and I who think that Adam was created so perfect as to pre-
hope no man will call me a heretic for departing in clude the possibility of his increase in knowledge, have
this respect from the common opinion, which appears taken a very false view of the subject. We shall
to me to be so embarrassed as to be altogether unin- certainly be convinced that our first parents were in a
telligible. See farther on ver. 7-14, &c.

state of sufficient perfection when we consider, 1. Yea, hath God said] This seems to be the con- That they were endued with a vast capacity to obtain tinuation of a discourse of which the preceding part knowledge. 2. That all the means of information is not given, and a proof that the creature in question were within their reach. 3. That there was no hinwas endued with the gift of reason and speech, for no derance to the most direct conception of occurring surprise is testified on the part of Eve.

truth. 4. That all the objects of knowledge, whether Verse 3. Neither shall ye touch it] Did not the natural or moral, were ever at hand. 5. That they woman add this to what God had before spoken? had the strongest propensity to know; and, 6. The Some of the Jewish writers, who are only serious on greatest pleasure in knowing. To have God and nacomparative trifles, state that as soon as the woman ture continually open to the view of the soul; and to had asserted this, the serpent pushed her against the have a soul capable of viewing both, and fathoming tree and said, “See, thou hast touched it, and art still. endlessly their unbounded glories and excellences, withalive; thou mayest therefore safely eat of the fruit, out hinderance or difficulty; what a state of perfection! for surely thou shalt not die.“

what a consummation of bliss! This was undoubtedly Verse 4. Ye shall not surely die] Here the father the state and condition of our first parents ; even the of lies at once appears ; and appears too in flatly con- present ruins of the state are incontestable evidences tradicting the assertion of God. The tempter, through of its primitive excellence. We see at once how the nachash, insinuates the impossibility of her dying, transgression came; it was natural for them to desire as if he had said, God has created thee immortal, thy to be increasingly wise. God had implanted this dedeath therefore is impossible ; and God knows this, for sire in their minds; but he showed them that this as thou livest by the tree of life, so shalt thou get desire should be gratified in a certain way; that pruincrease of wisdom by the tree of knowledge. dence and judgment should always regulate it; that

Verse 5. Your eyes shall be opened] Your under they should carefully examine what God had opened standing shall be greatly enlightened and improved ; to their view; and should not pry into what he chose and ye shall be as gods, binhx3 kelohim, like God, so to conceal. He alone who knows all things knows the word should be translated; for what idea could our how much knowledge the soul needs to its perfection first parents have of gods before idolatry could have and increasing happiness, in what subjects this may be had any being, because sin had not yet entered into legitimately sought, and where the mind may make


A. M. 1. B. C. 4004.

Adam and Eve eat


the forbidden fruit. fruit thereof, hand did eat; anded, and they knew that they B.A.CM4004. gave

also unto her husband with were naked; and they sewed her, i and he did eat.

fig-leaves together, and made themselves 7 And k the eyes of them both were open- aprons.

k Verse 5.

Ecclus xxv. 24; 1 Tim. ii. 14; 1 John ii. 16. — Ver. 12, 17;

Hos. vi, 7; Rom. v. 12–19.

Chapter ii. 25,


Or, things to gird


excursions and discoveries to its prejudice and ruin. tudes of souls, whom he persuaded that being once There are doubtless many subjects which angels are right they could never finally go wrong. 7. As he capable of knowing, and which God chooses to con- kept the unlawfulness of the means proposed out of ceal even from them, because that knowledge would sight, persuaded them that they could not fall from tend neither to their perfection nor happiness. Of their steadfastness, assured them that they should reevery attainment and object of pursuit it may be said, semble God himself, and consequently be self-sufficient, in the words of an ancient poet, who conceived.cor- and totally independent of him; they listened, and rectly on the subject, and expressed his thoughts with fixing their eye only on the promised good, neglecting perspicuity and energy

the positive command, and determining to become wise Est modus in rebus : sunt cerli denique fines,

and independent at all events, they took of the fruit

and did eat. Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum.

Let us now examine the effects.
Hor. Sat., lib. i., Sat. 1., ver. 106.

1. Their eyes were opened, and they saw they were “ There is a rule for all things; there are in fine naked. They saw what they never saw before, that fixed and stated limits, on either side of which righte- they were stripped of their excellence; that they had ousness cannot be found."

On the line of duty alone lost their innocence; and that they had fallen into a we must walk.

state of indigence and danger. 2. Though their eyes Such limits God certainly assigned from the begin- were opened to see their nakedness, yet their mind ning : Thou shalt come up to this; thou shalt not pass was clouded, and their judgment confused. They it. And as he assigned the limits, so he assigned the seem to have lost all just notions of honour and dis

It is lawful for thee to acquire knowledge in honour, of what was shameful and what was praisethis way; it is unlawful to seek it in that. And had worthy. It was dishonourable and shameful to break he not a right to do so ? And would his creation have the commandment of God; but it was neither to go been perfect without it?

naked, when clothing was not necessary. 3. They Verse 7. The eyes of them both were openedl] They seem in a moment, not only to have lost sound judgnow had a sufficient discovery of their sin and folly ment, but also reflection: a short time before Adam in disobeying the command of God; they could discern was so wise that he could name all the creatures brought between good and evil; and what was the consequence? before him, according to their respective natures and Confusion and shame were engendered, because inno- qualities ; now he does not know the first principle cence was lost and guilt contracted

concerning the Divine nature, that it knows all things, Let us review the whole of this melancholy busi- and that it is omnipresent, therefore he endeavours to ness, the fall and its effects.

hide himself among the trees from the eye of the all1. From the New Testament we learn that Satan seeing God! How astonishing is this ! When the associated himself with the creature which we term creatures were brought to him he could name them, the serpent, and the original the nachash, in order to because he could discern their respective natures and seduce and ruin mankind; 2 Cor. xi. 3 ; Rev. xii. 9 ; properties; when Eve was brought to him he could XX. 2. 2. That this creature was the most suitable immediately tell what she was, who she was, and for to his purpose, as being the most subtle, the most in- what end made, though he was in a deep sleep when telligent and cunning of all beasts of the field, en- God formed her; and this seems to be particularly dued with the gift of speech and reason, and conse- noted, merely to show the depth of his wisdom, and quently one in which he could best conceal himself. the perfection of his discerninent. But alas ! how are 3. As he knew that while they depended on God they the mighty fallen! Compare his present with his past could not be ruined, he therefore endeavoured to seduce state, his state before the transgression with his state them from this dependence. 4. He does this by work- after it; and say, is this the same creature ? the creaing on that propensity of the mind to desire an increase ture of whom God said, as he said of all his works, of knowledge, with which God, for the most gracious He is very good—just what he should be, a living purposes, had endued it. 5. In order to succeed, he image of the living God; but now lower than the insinuates that God, through motives of envy, had given beasts of the field ? 4. This account could never have the prohibition—God doth know that in the day ye eat been credited had not the indisputable proofs and eviof it, ye shall be like himself, &c. 6. As their pre- dences of it been continued by uninterrupted successent state of blessedness must be inexpressibly dear to sion to the present time.

All the descendants of this them, he endeavours to persuade them that they could first guilty pair resemble their degenerate ancestors, not fall from this state : Ye shall not surely die-ye and copy their conduct. The original mode of transshall not only retain your present blessedness, but it gression is still continued, and the original sin in conshall be greatly increased; a temptation by which he sequence. Here are the proofs. 1. Every human has ever since fatally succeeded in the ruin of multi-l being is endeavouring to obtain knowledge by unlawful VOL. I. ( 5 )


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